Friday, August 26, 2011

2011 Thing a Week - Week 34 - Sock Knitting Bag

So a while back (a month? two? more?) my friend Jennifer asked if I'd sew her up a small bag for her sock knitting, and offered me some homemade jam as payment. Yum! However, I sort of forgot about it (sorry Jen!) and she thankfully asked me last week if I could still sew her up a bag.
It's lined so there's no stitches for the knitting needles to get caught on.
I love all the lines at the top.
I had sewn a lined bag last year, but I really liked the inner part, where you could see both fabrics. I wanted  the bag for Jennifer to look like the inside of mine, and It turned our pretty much exactly as I wanted it to.
I sewed this last year. See how much cuter it is with a
band of lining color?
I hope she likes it!

Also, you may have noticed the lack of sewing projects for a while. Part of that is due to the yarn sale at a local shop and feeling the need to knit up some of it to assuage some shopping guilt, but some of it is also due to my lack of a sewing space. Knitting can be closed up in a bag so it doesn't need a specific place or area, just somewhere to stash a bag. Sewing takes up a lot more space, and since I have cats I have to clean up my sewing stuff each time I stop. The cats will lay all over the fabric, wrinkling it and getting hair all over, and I just felt like I was wasting so much time pulling everything out and then putting it all away again each time I sewed. I've been working on rearranging the spare room/office so that it can be a spare room/office/sewing room. I've got everything moved up there today, and it'll definitely be a tight squeeze, but it'll be so nice to just leave a project out and close the door when Minnie wakes up, rather than cleaning things up, or just not sewing.

Friday, August 19, 2011

What else I've been doing

So in between crafting and cleaning binges, and taking care of Minnie, I've been reading. Except when I had a week long migraine, then I did mostly nothing for a week. But other than that, in my 'free' time I've been reading. It's helped to keep me busy when I don't feel up to crafting, and keeps me feeling like I'm doing something semi-useful, and to keep my mind off things, and because it's been way too long since I've just devoured books.

I've always liked reading. Both of my grandmothers love to read, and I have fond memories of going to Barnes and Noble on my birthday with Granny to pick out some new books, or going to the used bookstore with Gramma and getting a stack. That's where I first picked up So You Want to Be a Wizard, in some used bookstore where the kids section was this small square room, with dark wood shelves.

Lately I've been reading the book lists that NPR comes out with once a week or so, and requesting the ones I find interesting from the library. The library system here will bring the books you request from other libraries to your local branch, and I love it. I walk down there once a week, grab the books that have shown up for me, and some more board books for Minnie.

I'll read while she naps, or catch a few pages while she's playing beside me, or stay up way too late finishing it.

In the past few weeks I've read, in no particular order,

The Magicians
The River King's Road
The Lost Gate
Castle Waiting I
Castle Waiting II
Tooth and Claw
10 Miles Past Normal

There are two lists where most of these have come from, here and here.

I am excited to get going on this, a list of 100 top Science Fiction and Fantasy books voted on my NPR listeners. I've only read about 19 of them, some a long time ago, so I've got a list to keep me busy for a while.

2011 Thing a Week - Week 33 - Sweater for Gianna

After a few weeks of working on it in between other things, I finally finished this sweater. I love it!
I went about this pattern totally haphazardly, but I think it worked out great. I was inspired by this pattern, but I had this bright pink that I wanted to use. I decided on a garter yoke, without raglan shaping. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to do the increases, and how many, and how often, so that it would look nice. There was a lot of frogging in the beginning. Also, I originally thought I'd make a cardigan, then thought I'd leave an opening at the neck and add buttons, and finally decided it looked great without the buttons. 

I wanted the edging for the arms and the body to be in garter, like in the inspiration pattern, but the body flipped up bad after I had finished it. I'm sure that with blocking it would have lain flat, but since this is going to the daughter of a non-knitter I didn't want her to have to think about blocking it. At first I decided on a rolled hem, but I got worried that it would roll too much so after even more discussion I moved on to the ribbing. I thought a ribbed edge would not look good with a garter yoke, but I like it.

Now, do I make some matching mittens, and a hat, or just mail this off? This is sort of a special gift, as the baby's grandparents were good friends with both of my parents when they were growing up, and the baby's mother grew up with my sister and me. Our dads still keep in touch. It's fun seeing old pictures of our moms in middle school, and their ridonkulous outfits.

Monday, August 15, 2011

2011 Thing a Week - Week 32 - Hanging Towels

We had a big 80th birthday party for my Granny, and it just sort of crept up on me so I didn't have some super awesome present for her. I sewed her a simple quilt a few months ago so that was out, and I didn't leave enough time to knit a shawl (well I could knit one, but there wouldn't have been enough time to block it), so I thought I'd knit her some hanging kitchen towels. She'll use and see them every day! That's the best kind of present, right?
Already in use!

Friday, August 5, 2011

2011 Thing a Week - Week 31 - Curtains

So a friend of a friend needed some curtains sewn up, and I said sure! Gives me some practice, right? Well of course there ended up being some major hiccups:

Problem 1: The fabric ended up being the same height of the window, so with hemming and a top tube for the curtain rod they were too small.

Solution 1: Let's make a valance! Sent Andrea to Ikea for more fabric and a double curtain rod set up.

Problem 2: There was only 2 yards left of the fabric.

Solution 2: We only need 70".

Problem 3: We needed 78.5 inches in width. Oops.

Solution 3: Found some rings with clips to grab the curtain fabric. Original curtain Problem #1 solved!

Problem 4: Realized that valance was no longer needed, but had already bought fabric so I had to use it.

Problem 4.5: First idea for valance fails. (If there's a seam in the middle of the fabric, you can't offset the fold to make a two tier valance as the wrong side of the seam will show!)

Solution 4: Made a tube of the valance fabric. This took longer than the other two curtains.